Time is a deeply confusing thing for us humans to think about – and the ways in which we talk about it don’t always help.
For instance, here’s a heads-up to my editors: if you commission an article from me, then try to “move the deadline forward”, don’t expect me to send it to you sooner. To me – and, apparently, only to a minority of others – moving something “forward” in time obviously means that you want to push the deadline further ahead, off into the future. Moving a deadline or meeting “back” seems even more obviously to mean bringing it closer to the present time – in the same way that, when you give back to me the book that I lent you, you’ll be bringing it closer to me in space. But to the majority, moving something forward means moving it closer to the present; moving it back means shifting it further away.
A study just published in the journal Psychological Science suggests that the differences in outlook go deeper than just how we talk about rescheduling meetings. It shows that some people, including most Arabic-speaking Moroccans, see the past as being in front of them, while the future is behind, and suggests a surprising explanation for why that might be the case.
Read the whole story: The Guardian